Cyber Wellness...

  • refers to positive well-being of Internet users and a healthy cyber culture for the internet community;
  • involves an understanding of the risks of harmful online behaviour, an awareness of how to product oneself and others from such behaviour;
  • is a recognition of the power of internet to affect oneself and the community-at-large

4 values underpinning the cyberwellness vision are...

  1. Embracing the Net & Inspiring Others - Youths adopt an attitude of using the internet to make a positive difference to others through their online activities
  2. Aututeness - means develpoing in youths a sense of being 'street smart' when using the internet. This includes (i) developing an awareness of the dangers in cyberspace and recognising the different forms of this danger (ii) identifying and protecting youths from harmful and illegal online behaviour
  3. Respect & Responsibility - The respect for (i) Medium - by not abusing the internet for activities such as hacking (ii) Self and others - by not surfing pornographic sites, putting up false rumours, infringing others' privacy and rights, and illegally downloading copyrighted media.
  4. Beyond the Internet - The balance between cyberspace and the physical world. Internet to be used in moderation. If the balance is not achieved, it may lead to:
  • (i) Internet Addiction: Spending too much time online that family and friends are ignored and normal daily tasks are affected.
  • (ii) Addiction to role playing online games: (a) A feeling of an anxiety and discomfort when disconnected from the virtual world (b) Inability to limit gaming activity and to distinguish between the real world and the fantasy world.

Source: The Offline Guide for the Online Generation

Internet Addiction...

  • Addiction is a compulsion to repeat a behaviour regardless of its consequences.
  • Internet Addiction refers to any online-related compulsive behaviour that interferes with a normal living and causes severe stress on the afflicted individual and those who are close to the person.
  • It is described as an impulse-control behaviour/disorder which is similar to pathological gambling and sexual addiction.
  • Addicts do not regard the internet merely as an information or communication tool, nor do they utilise it solely for enjoyment. Instead use the internet as a means to escape from their problems while they spend time online.

Symptoms of Internet Addiction include

  • Preoccupation with the Internet
  • Frequent thoughts about previous online activity
  • Anticipation of the next online session
  • Observable increase in the amount of time spent on the Internet in order to achieve satisfaction

Withdrawal symptoms include

  • feelings of restlessness, moodiness, depression or irritability when attempt to reduce internet time

Internet Addiction Test (from

Some strategies to prevent or counter Internet Addiction

  • Keep the computer in a place accessible by all, where monitoring internet usage is easy
  • Agree to time limit for internet use outside school hours
  • Be involved and interested in the youth's surfing
  • Parents could spend more quality time with the youth away from the internet, pursue common interests/hobbies/sports
  • Schools track students' internet usage, keep a record of all the sites visited and install filters

Source: The Offline Guide for the Online Generation

Game Addiction

Games are addictive because of several reasons:

  • Design of game: Games are designed such that they are not intended to complete in one session. Within the games, there are sub-plots and mini-games.
  • Players are motivated to complete the levels of games, and each level is achieved with increasing difficulty.
  • Games have excitin and elaborate plots that evolve over time.
  • Some games are on-going, played by gamers all over the world in real-time.
  • Players who stop playing may be beaten by their opponents and will lost out to those who continue playing.
  • Players who want to stop cannot stop do so immediately as they must complete certain tasks before they stop. Otherwise, they may ended up at a disadvantage when they next continue.
  • Many players play as a team. The decision to stop playing depends on all members of the team as well as members of other teams.

"At risk" players are more likely to be younger ones who play violent fantasy games for more than 2 hours a day (Jeanne Funk, 2002). On the other hand, A person may be playing for long hours, but need not be addicted if he/she is able to carry on their daily functioning.

Some symptoms of game addiction

  1. having trouble with school attendance and encountering dificulty in coping with school work
  2. social isolation and depression - avoid family, friends and social functions, preferring online contacts. They tend to find their virtual world more exciting than real life. Hence, they prefer to reduce family and social contacts
  3. sitting at the computer terminal and typing on the keyboard for long hours may result in physiological problems such as neck and back aches, or carpal tunnel syndrome
  4. suffering sleep disturbaces and /or eating problems
  5. feeling good only when playing games
  6. neglecting personal hygiene
  7. getting restless and irritable when they can't play the games.

Source: What do I say to My Net-Savvy Kids? (Digital Games)


Some behavioural signs of aggressive tendencies include

  • having strong feelings of wanting to hit someone
  • feeling angry and ready to explode
  • easily provoked
  • short-tempered
  • threaten others
  • getting into arguments often
  • showing irritation when frustrated
  • feeling suspicious of others
  • declaring openly that others disagree with him/her
  • suspicious that others are laughing behind his/her back

Source: The Offline Guide for the Online Generation

Many studies have shown that

  1. Playing a lot of violent games can lead to aggressive thoughts and feelings (Jeanne Funk, Craig Anderson, and Douglas).
  2. There is evidence that players who play even for a short time find that it is easier for them to think aggressive thoughts. Players of these games tend to get involved in more fights and do badly in school.
  3. Those who play for a long time tend to develop aggressive self-concepts adn are more likely to use aggressive means to solve problems. Physical violence may be accepted as a normal way of reacting.
  4. Players, especially boys, are more likely to think that others are hostile towards them. Players of violent games also tend to be less helpful and have less empathy for others.
  5. Players who live in the game worlds for a long time develop notions where they must watch their backs and they must kill in order not to be killed.
  6. Younger children are not mature in their thinking and do not know how to react differently in the real world. They transfer the rules or norms in the game world to real life.
  7. Younger children may not have developed strategies to deal with problems or conflicts. Hence, they are more likely to imitate characters in the games and solve problems faced in real life by violent means.

Source: What do I say to My Net-Savvy Kids? (Digital Games)

Resources on Cyberwellness


"The Offline Guide for the Online Generation - A Cyber Wellness Resource"

IPOS (Intellectual Property Office of Singapore) - iperckidz

Media Development Authority of Singapore

Internet Industry Association of Singapore

Get Safe Online

Think U Know

For Kids By Kids Online



Becta e-safety



Net Alert


Child Net International

Wired Safety



Types of Internet Addiction

Causes, warning signs and recovery

How to manage computer gaming at home

Other aspects of Cyberwellness


  • online harassesment or cyber-bullying
  • pornography
  • internet suicide
  • internet gambling
  • internet crime

Source: The Offline Guide for the Online Generation